Todd Haynes is back, immersing himself neck deep in the exact kind of melodrama that he has thrived on throughout his illustrious career. It’s excess ahoy as it be expected, and the screen crackles with the electric ferocity of Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman’s on-screen chemistry. Considering the icky subject matter, then, the film requires a fairly delicate balance; the subject of women sex offenders is not a common site of interest in screen culture. While the camp excesses of the film would in the hands of a lesser filmmaker perhaps push the film into the terrain of bad taste, in Haynes hands, there is enormous empathy for the situation.Read more
There are grifters galore in Benjamin Caron’s psychological thriller Sharper that opens with what appears to be a innocent love story, set inside a small Greenwich Village bookstore. That’s where NYU grad student Sandra (Briana Middleton) meets Tom (Justice Smith), the nerdy proprietor. She’s searching for a copy of Zora Neal Huston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. They ‘click’ and move on to a little Japanese restaurant on Mott Street for canoodling over dinner.Read more
The word sharper is another term for a cheating gambler—or “one who lives by their wits,” as the crime thriller Sharper says among its opening titles. Unfortunately, Sharper is dull and predictable, with a plodding pace, little suspense, and twists that anyone who loves heist films will identify well in advance.
Streaming on Apple TV+, Sharper has a fractured narrative, following four key characters at alternate points in the story. This type of structure can produce surprising reveals, but the script by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka (both of Superstore, and also producers) isn’t engaging enough in these portions to override impatience. Those looking for a twisty crime tale will consider Sharper a cheat.
Written and directed by Jesse Eisenberg, When You Finish Saving the World explores the often uncomfortable relationship between mother and son. Julianne Moore and Finn Wolfhard deliver powerhouse performances in this Sundance 2022 film, in which there is often despair and discomfort but also a fraction of hope and change.Read more
Some Broadway shows transfer admirably to the big screen. Others don’t. Actor Ben Platt won plaudits for playing the titular teenager in this coming-of-age musical, but now he’s 27 and not quite as believable as an angst-riddled high-schooler.Read more
I endorse the supportive friendship among the three girls, the interracial group of characters, and the condemnation of animal abuse, a positive lesson for all viewers. However, this level of anthropomorphizing animals should have been abandoned long ago.Read more
What a pleasure to see such committed, genuine friendships shown between young girls, especially as it relates to the love of horses. Lucky, Pru, and Abigail are the tween version of ‘ride or die’, as they repeatedly risk everything for each other. They are also shown to be brave in terms of their commitment to save the horses, and fearless in how they find ways to problem solve on their journey, doing it together as a team.Read more
Modern feminism owes a lot to Gloria Steinem, and director Julie Taymor revels in explaining why in The Glorias, her creative biopic about a woman who has fought tirelessly throughout her life for the rights of all women. Taking the title of Steinem’s autobiography — My Life on the Road — literally, Taymor centers her story on a bus on which primary passengers are Steinem at different ages: child (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), young teen (Lulu Wilson), young woman (Alicia Vikander), and mature activist (Julianne Moore).Read more
Even if you’ve traveled through much of Gloria Steinem’s life already — whether by her book My Life on the Road; the play Gloria: A Life written by Emily Mann and directed by Diane Paulus; or the recent Hulu series Mrs. America —Julie Taymor’s inventive, sometimes fantastical, movie The Glorias is a worthwhile trip. Written by Taymor and playwright Sarah Ruhl, much of the material is familiar but no less eye-opening as Taymor follows the feminist trailblazer at different stages of her life, when she is played by four different actresses.Read more
The good news about The Glorias is that Julie Taymor tries to avoid biopic clichés as she employs four actresses at different ages to tell the story of feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s life. But while indulging in her usual visual panache on screen, the director is almost too ambitious in trying to bring this notable legend to life.Read more